Cooler Master’s MasterAir Maker 8 CPU cooler reviewed

A couple weeks ago, Cooler Master told me it would be sending us a new CPU cooler to review. “Neat,” I thought, musing briefly about another Hyper D92-class heatsink, before filing away the tracking number and forgetting about it for a few days. When UPS showed up with an unexpectedly huge package, I had no idea what it was until I ripped it open and revealed the box for the equally huge MasterAir Maker 8 CPU cooler.

While this 6.8″-tall (or 172 mm) cooler may look like the average large tower heatsink from above, turning it over reveals a base plate unlike anything else out there. The MasterAir Maker 8 is the first cooler to implement Cooler Master’s 3D Vapor Chamber base design. This design comprises four vertical heat pipes that are cast as part of the main vapor chamber. The bottom of the vapor chamber is then machined into the contact surface for the CPU’s heat spreader.

For good measure, another four U-shaped heat pipes are soldered to the top of the main vapor chamber, for a total of eight. This design lets the Maker 8 pack more heatpipes than even the largest single-tower coolers from Noctua, Phanteks, and other heatsink makers. All that copper and aluminum adds up to a weight of 42 ounces, or 1.2kg. This is not an insubstantial item to hang off a motherboard.

Cooler Master includes two of its Silencio FP 140-mm fans with the MasterAir Maker 8. Unlike many heatsinks that use metal or plastic clips, the Maker 8’s fans slide on and off using a pair of plastic rails with click-in retainers. Removing each fan is as simple as pushing in a pair of tabs at the base of the heatsink and sliding the fan up and off. The downside of this design is that each fan can only be used with the Maker 8. These fans light up with red LEDs when they’re powered on. I don’t mind the look, but other builders might appreciate the option to turn off the lights. For those who don’t like the sound of the Silencios, Cooler Master also includes some 120-mm fan brackets that should work with spinners from many manufacturers.

One of the thoughtful touches on this cooler is an integrated set of cable-routing brackets on either side of the base of the tower. Instead of letting the fans’ power cables go where they will, Cooler Master gives builders the option to route those cables to the side of the tower nearest their motherboards’ CPU fan header. The issue with this design is that the fans still have to come off the tower during the installation process, and it might be difficult to get cables through these clips once the main tower is situated among today’s heatsink- and fascia-laden motherboard sockets.

The “Maker” in the Maker 8’s name means that one can swap the default smoked-plastic top plate for an included crinkle-coat metal affair that fully reveals the LED-illuminated Cooler Master logo at the top of the tower. Folks with 3D printers can also grab the schematics for one of these plates and customize it to their hearts’ content. Mere mortals will probably just appreciate the aesthetic choice on offer here.

The Maker 8 may be a single-tower air cooler, but it’s not priced like one. Cooler Master’s suggested price for this tower is a whopping $130, $30 to $40 more than the most expensive air coolers from other manufacturers on Newegg today. Given this eyebrow-raisingly-high price, we’re expecting great things from the Maker 8. Let’s see how it performs.

 

Installation

The MasterAir Maker 8 goes on a lot like Cooler Master’s own Hyper D92, and that’s a good thing.

For Intel sockets, the foundation of the cooler is a black plastic x-brace with captive screws that slip through the motherboard’s mounting holes. A quartet of nuts with threaded ends then goes on top of these screws. With that first set of nuts in place, a pair of crossbars goes on top of the threaded ends, followed by another quartet of nuts. Excuse me while I go get some almonds.

The tower’s base has built-in brackets that fit over a pair of captive bolts on the crossbars. Once the tower is seated atop the CPU and crossbars, one only has to tighten the appropriate pair of nuts over these bolts, and the Maker 8 is locked down. Compared to the more elaborate mounting systems of many of its competitors, Cooler Master’s solution looks a lot simpler to use, and it doesn’t require any tools to install. Kudos.

On my Intel LGA 1151 board, the tight CPU socket area means that the MasterAir’s intake fan runs into the tall heatsinks on the G.Skill Trident Z DIMMs I’m borrowing from our recent Breadbox build. I thought I was in for an annoying round of parts-swapping or fan-swapping after this discovery, but it turns out Cooler Master had a clever trick  up its sleeve when it designed the slide-in fan mounts. Each of the 140-mm fans can click into two positions: a fully lowered position at the bottom of the bracket, or a raised position that provides about half an inch more clearance for taller DIMMS.

Strangely, Cooler Master doesn’t include any mention of this feature in its manual, but it solved my problem nonetheless. Even with that extra clearance, the Maker 8’s intake fan just barely contacts the heatsinks on my RAM. Those who want to use especially tall DIMMS with this cooler should take care when picking parts.

Because of the Maker 8’s size, there’s also a chance it might cause clearance issues with graphics cards in the first PCIe x16 slot on some motherboards, like the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1. The tower just barely avoids intruding on the airspace of the ASRock Z170 Extreme7+ board I used in this review.

After I connected its included fan splitter, the MasterAir Maker 8 was ready to go. Let’s see how it performs.

Our testing methods

Here’s the full configuration of our test system:

Processor Intel Core i5-6600K
Motherboard ASRock Z170 Extreme 7+
Memory 16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill Trident Z DDR4-3000
Graphics card None
Storage Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD
Power supply Cooler Master V550
OS Windows 10 Pro

Our CPU cooler testing regimen is as follows:

  • 10 minutes idling at the Windows 8.1 desktop
  • 20 minutes of the Prime95 Small FFTs CPU torture test
  • 10 minutes idling at the Windows 8.1 desktop

Our test data is logged using AIDA64 Engineer. To rule out a given case’s cooling performance as a factor, we ran our tests on an open bench. The ambient temperature in our testing environment was about 70 degrees F. Noise measurements were performed 6″ directly above each cooler using an iPhone 6S Plus running the Faber Acoustical SoundMeter application. The CPU cooler and power supply fan were the only noise sources present in the testing environment.

I tested the MasterAir Maker 8 against Cooler Master’s Nepton 240M all-in-one liquid cooler. Each cooler’s fans were connected to the motherboard’s CPU fan header using a PWM fan splitter. Using ASRock’s Windows utility, I set a custom fan speed curve for both coolers that used minimum fan speeds for CPU temperatures up to 30° C, followed by a gradual ramp up to 100% fan speeds past 80° C. I used Cooler Master’s included thermal paste for both coolers in this test.

The tests and methods we employ are publicly available and reproducible. If you have any questions about our methods, join us in our forums to discuss them, or post a comment on this article.

 

Stock-clocked cooling performance

Here are the test results from each cooler, plotted over time:

And here are some minimum and maximum numbers from each testing phase:

As these numbers demonstrate, both of these coolers are overkill on our stock-clocked Core i5-6600K. Neither one has the least bit of trouble keeping our CPU chilly, even under our grueling Prime95 load. Let’s see if our noise results widen the gap.

Noise levels

Here are some minimum and maximum noise levels from each cooler on our stock-clocked CPU, collected at idle and under load. For reference, the noise floor in my office (according to my iPhone) is about 27 dBA.

The MasterAir Maker 8 produces slightly less noise than the Nepton 240M at idle. Under load, however, the Nepton only gets one dBA louder, while the Maker 8 has to rev up a little more to compensate. That’s demonstrated by its 34-dBA noise levels under load. Neither of these coolers are loud, but the Nepton’s more-or-less constant noise levels fade into the background better than the Maker 8’s.

Even on a stock-clocked CPU, the noise character of the Maker 8’s fans is just OK. At idle, these 140-mm spinners are practically inaudible, but they get a tad growly as they ramp up that tiny bit under load. I wouldn’t call the noise unpleasant, but it is obvious. I was hoping for a better performance here given the Maker 8’s price. Meanwhile, the Nepton 240M is practically silent at all times save for the minor hum from its pump.

Neither of these coolers are necessary if you want to quiet down a stock-clocked CPU, though. Cooler Master’s more compact Hyper D92 is more than enough cooler to do that job. The MasterAir Maker 8 and Nepton 240M are targeted at those who want to crank up the clocks on their CPUs, and in keeping with that mission, let’s see how they do in an overclocking face-off.

Overclocking performance

To see how much performance the MasterAir could wring out of our Core i5-6600K CPU, I followed our general overclocking strategy of pushing clock speeds using multiplier settings until the system became unstable. I then added more voltage until the system was rock-solid again under our Prime95 load. I continued this cycle until the processor began to reach what I considered unsafe temperatures under each cooler—about 90° C or so—or when I couldn’t eke stability out of the system after multiple rounds of extra voltage.

Using that procedure, I took our i5-6600K to 4.6GHz at an indicated 1.325V under the MasterAir Maker 8. With those settings and the MasterAir’s fans running at 100%, the processor reached 75° C during our Prime95 load, and the cooler produced about 47 dBA. (The temperatures in the screenshot above weren’t obtained during our testing phase.) My system was never quite stable at 4.7GHz no matter how much voltage I added, so the MasterAir didn’t prove to be the sticking point in my overclocking efforts.

At full tilt, the 140-mm Silencios produce a growly, baritone hum instead of a broad-spectrum whoosh. That sound isn’t as annoying as a higher-pitched noise would be, but it also doesn’t fade into the background as readily as I would like. What’s more concerning is the almost motorcycle-like sound these fans produce as they rev up to full speed. While that transition won’t happen often, it’s still pretty jarring.

Another problem arose with the Maker 8 running at full tilt. Occasionally, the cooler would begin producing a high-pitched whine that sounded like someone blowing on the bare reed of a woodwind instrument. I’m guessing that’s from the plastic-on-plastic fan rails, but I’m not entirely sure. Removing and reinstalling the cooler seemed to stamp out this issue, so it’s possible that my experience was a fluke.

With the Nepton 240M strapped on, the Core i5-6600K topped out at about 72° C, and I measured sound levels of about 47 dBA. I think the Nepton sounds slightly better than the Maker 8 at full speed, even though I wouldn’t call either of these coolers quiet when they’re running all-out. Even so, the smaller Silencios sound better at full speed than their 140-mm counterparts.

I have to wonder which one of these coolers would sound best inside a case, though. In an enclosure like Fractal Design’s Define R5 or Define S, placing a radiator at the top of the case also creates a path for other system noise to escape. Placing the radiator at the front of the case to avoid that issue means waste heat gets vented back into the case, potentially making other components run hotter and noisier under load. An air cooler like the Maker 8 lets builders leave those cases’ silencing features in place, potentially reducing system noise without compromising cooling that much.

 

Conclusions

Cooler Master’s MasterAir Maker 8 is a huge tower-style air cooler with an innovative base design that packs in more heatpipes than any other single-tower heatsink I’ve seen. At $130, it’s also one of the most expensive coolers on the market, period. With that price, I think Cooler Master has set a high bar for the Maker 8 to clear.

While the Maker 8 does deliver ever-so-slightly better idle noise levels all around than the similarly-priced Nepton 240M liquid cooler, this tower’s aural character and cooling performance on top of an overclocked CPU are all a bit worse than what the Nepton turns in. Installing an all-in-one liquid cooler involves tradeoffs of its own that could increase system temperatures or noise, though, while the Maker 8 lets cases like Fractal Design’s Define R5 work best with their silencing features fully in place.

Despite those potential acoustic advantages, my Maker 8 sometimes emitted a strange piercing whine from time to time when it was running at full tilt. That problem did go away when I removed and reinstalled the Maker 8, but I’d rather not have experienced it in the first place. This 6.8″ (172 mm) tower won’t fit in every case, and it could also create clearance issues for tall memory heatsinks and motherboards whose first PCIe x16 slot sits directly below the CPU socket. Liquid coolers generally avoid those problems. To be fair, those issues are easy enough to avoid with some careful parts-picking.

Cooler Master does deserve kudos for how easy it is to put the MasterAir Maker 8 in a system. I had zero issues installing this monster cooler without tools. The Maker 8 also extracted the full overclocking potential from our Core i5-6600K CPU. I got that chip to peak clocks of 4.6 GHz using 1.325V with this cooler, and the 75° C Prime95 load temperatures I saw at those speeds are nothing to scoff at.

Modders will appreciate Cooler Master’s willingness to share 3D schematics for this cooler’s interchangeable top plates, and if overclocking isn’t in the cards, the MasterAir can also keep stock-clocked chips cool while barely stretching its legs. This cooler easily kept our Core i5-6600K chilly while spinning its fans just above their idle speed, even under a full Prime95 load.

Even with those praises to its credit, the MasterAir Maker 8’s $130 price tag represents a $30 to $40 jump over the most expensive air coolers on the market right now. If it cost less, this cooler would be easier to recommend. Given my time with the Maker 8, I don’t know that Cooler Master has entirely justified that leap in price. Those willing to shell out the cash will get a handsome, easy-to-install heatsink that delivers solid cooling performance and decent acoustics. All else being equal, though, I’d save a few bucks and buy the biggest all-in-one liquid cooler my case could swallow.

Comments closed
    • dragosmp
    • 4 years ago

    I haven’t seen a cooler review in a while, so I had to read it just for the fun. Ty Jeff

    On topic: The engineering looks awesome and it maybe can justify the price by the controlled atmosphere welding they must be using to fix the pipes to the base. However, for the heck of it if ever possible, compare with a 212+ I imagine today’s high performance CPUs (not including AMD sadly) don’t stress a proper cooler like they used to.

    *EDIT: about the weight debate – the torque it applies on the motherboard depends in equal measure of two parameters:
    1. weight and
    2. height above the motherboard plane of the center of gravity of the cooler

    You need to document No2, otherwise we’ll need to assume it’s similar for all coolers; it may be true were it not a vapor-chamber vs non-vapor-chamber, so weight center height is important

    • Mr Bill
    • 4 years ago

    Jeff, you should do a write up about how vapor chambers differ from heat pipes. Then people would appreciate what Cooler Master is trying to do here. You might mention that websites that used to test heatsinks found significant differences between using a heated block to test these coolers versus actually mounting them on a CPU. Most of the difference came down to the heated block being uniform in temperature versus the CPU package haveing a small concentrated hot spot that was often less than 25% of the CPU package surface area.

      • BIF
      • 4 years ago

      I would appreciate a write-up on vapor chambers and a comparison to heat pipes.

      • Chrispy_
      • 4 years ago

      A vapor chamber is a heatpipe.
      It’s exactly the same thing but just a different shape!

      It’s a sealed volume in the shape of a pipe, box, cylinder, or donkey with fluid (often water) at a reduced pressure optimised for phase change (evaporation) at the desired temperature, rather than the temperature the fluid would change phase if it was at standard pressure. The interior surface of the volume is sintered or wicked to provide increased condensation/evaporation surface area and to assist movement of the working fluid through capillary action, allowing the fluid to flow in the direction of temperature change rather than with gravity, making it usable in any orientation.

      Honestly, a heatpipe is just a tubular vapor chamber and a vapor chamber is just a wider, flatter heatpipe. The only difference is the shape!

        • swaaye
        • 4 years ago

        And there’s the write up. 🙂

        • Mr Bill
        • 4 years ago

        A doughnut and a coffee cup can make the same claim. Maximizing the heat transfer between two parallel plates requires different design elements than trying to move the heat through a tube. Just for example, I imagine most vapor chambers have many solid or porous pillar elements fixed between the plates to let liquid transfer back to the hot side. Simply flattening a heat pipe would result in all the liquid having to move to the edges and down before being available as a working fluid again. That would greatly slow heat transfer.

          • Chrispy_
          • 4 years ago

          Expensive vapor chambers are vaned, columned or segmented [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pipe#/media/File:IsoSkin.png<]like this[/url<] but the cheaper ones are just filled with a mesh spacer. It doesn't really matter too much as the spacing method between the two surfaces is not the point, it simply provides two dimensions of vapor excape from the evaporation surface, rather than one dimension in a linear heatpipe. The columns or vanes don't do anything for the cooling performance, they're just there to provide structural integrity to the chamber. The fluid does flow through the sintered inside surface but Boyle's gas pressure law means that as fluid evaporates, raising the pressure, the condensation temperature drops proportionately and the coolest gas in the chamber will condense "harder" at the colder surfaces and PUSH the working fluid through the sintered layer. Because of this forced motion of liquid from all sides around the hot surface, there's no need to worry about where it's coming from. If anything, a structural vane or column in the centre of the hotspot would actually reduce the efficiency of the chamber quite dramatically.

    • djayjp
    • 4 years ago

    If you want to produce far more heat, I’d strongly recommend using Intel’s Linpack test instead. I also find it’s far more sensitive (in terms of error detection) than Prime95.

      • chuckula
      • 4 years ago

      Linpack pushing 260 GFlops (double precision) gets Haswell nice & toasty.

    • Klimax
    • 4 years ago

    The only missing thing is test on large CPUs like 5960x. Would be nice to know if it is viable replacement for my current ZALMAN. (Central fan vibrates and gets damn too close to metal and thus killing original properties like silent run)

    • Mr Bill
    • 4 years ago

    Makes you think, what might be useful would be a thin vapor chamber you could buy and insert under any regular heatsink solution. If, that is, you could adjust for the additional 1/8 to 1/4 inch of extra thickness. But I have searched and none are available in consumer retail channels.

      • just brew it!
      • 4 years ago

      I don’t see how that would help at all. The heat still has to leave via the existing heatsink; and you’ve just introduced another thermal interface (which is going to make things less efficient, not more).

        • Mr Bill
        • 4 years ago

        Have you seen how incredible a [url=http://celsiainc.com/vapor-chamber-one-piece-design/<]one-piece vapor chamber[/url<] is for heat transfer?

          • brucethemoose
          • 4 years ago

          If you’re replacing the heat spreader, ya.

          But any material, unless it’s a powered TEC, you stick between an IHS an heatsink could only make things worse.

            • Mr Bill
            • 4 years ago

            A vapor chamber can have a thermal conductivity over 10 times that of copper. So, its well worth putting one between the CPU package and the heat pipe assembly. See my post below.

          • just brew it!
          • 4 years ago

          Due to the larger surface area, I could see it working better than traditional heatpipes if it is bent into a “U” shape (so that the ends extend up into the finned area) and integrated into the heatsink design. Like, say, the one in the picture on that web page you linked.

          Merely inserting a piece of it between the existing CPU and heatsink is just introducing an additional thermal interface, which is almost certainly going to make matters worse.

          I could see it offering some significant benefits if you de-lidded the CPU and used it in place of the existing headspreader, but that doesn’t seem to be what you’re suggesting.

            • Mr Bill
            • 4 years ago

            You are confusing a vapor chamber with a heat pipe. Vapor chambers simply move heat vertically and laterally from the bottom (heated) surface to the top (cooled) surface of the chamber and they can be just a few mm thick. Ideally, you want heat pipes to be bonded to cool the top (cooled) surface of the vapor chamber. So the advantage of using one is to convert a point source of heat into one uniformly heated surface that several heat pipes can all be bonded against. In this link a [url=http://www.thermacore.com/products/vapor-chamber-assembly-heat-spreaders.aspx<]Vapor Chamber Assemblies: Highest Level of Heat Spreading Performance[/url<]. A planar vapor chamber can have "Over 350 W/cm2 heat flux capability" with "Effective thermal conductivity over 5,000 W/mK (vs. 401 W/mK pure copper and 1,200 W/mK graphite)".

            • just brew it!
            • 4 years ago

            A CPU in a lidded package isn’t a point source of heat though.

            I agree that the lid probably won’t do as good a job of spreading the heat laterally as a vapor chamber, but unless you de-lid the CPU (eliminating one of the thermal interfaces), any benefits from the improved lateral heat distribution of the vapor chamber are probably going to be offset by the increased thermal resistance of the overall cooling solution due to that additional thermal interface.

            Yes, a vapor chamber with bonded heatpipes would likely work quite well; but that’s not what you were suggesting in your original post. You were suggesting sticking a separate aftermarket vapor chamber between an existing CPU and HSF, which is not the same thing because of the additional thermal interface!

            • Mr Bill
            • 4 years ago

            Scroll down to [url=http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/thermal-paste-heat-sink-heat-spreader,3600.html<]Heat Spreaders, Hot Spots, and Dire Consequences[/url<]. Given the very high thermal conductivity of a vapor chamber plate, its worth wondering if putting one between the CPU heat spreader and a cheap hyper 212 plus would give a benefit. On the next image down they show how the heat pipes miss the hottest part of the cpu package...[quote<]Consider a cooler with, say, four heat pipes, like the Xigmatek Achilles in the picture below. The outermost heat pipes miss the hot spot completely. Even the two innermost heat pipes only partially cover the narrow hot spot of an Ivy Bridge-based CPU. Adding insult to injury, the cooler typically cannot be turned 90 degrees.[/quote<] This is why I was wondering if a thin vapor chamber could help.

            • just brew it!
            • 4 years ago

            Maybe if you lap the heatspreader, vapor chamber, and HSF base so they are all perfectly flat. Otherwise, the extra thermal interface is almost certainly going to negate any gains.

            • Mr Bill
            • 4 years ago

            I agree, had a heck of a time getting heat to flow efficiently through my power peltier project…
            [url=https://plus.google.com/114696575659845544014/posts/ERmLn4ZwGBX?pid=6148917974287526578&oid=114696575659845544014<]Success! Hyper 212+ plus Peltier Junction = wood stove fan[/url<].

    • Mr Bill
    • 4 years ago

    The Cooler Master V8 GTS is essentially the same design for $89. But nice to finally see how a true vapor chamber solution performs. Looks like a big improvement over the Cooler Master TPC 812 which put the vapor chamber ‘above’ the base, which was just stupid.

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]MasterAir Maker 8[/quote<] °What kind of stupid name is that??!!" - Biff Tannen (Back to the Future III)

      • TwoEars
      • 4 years ago

      Sounds like a film about a shaolin monk who has mastered the art of farting, and it’s the eight movie in the franchise.

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    “For those who don’t like the sound of the Silencios, Cooler Master also includes some 120-mm fan brackets that should work with spinners from many manufacturers.”

    At $130, I’m quite sure CM bundled some really high quality fans with this thing to satisfy anyone, so you gotta be really impractically picky or have too much money lying around to even think of tossing the Silencios out.

      • brucethemoose
      • 4 years ago

      Anyone who buys a $130 heatsink will probably be picky. I can see them dropping another $40-$60 to get the exact noise profile they want.

        • ronch
        • 4 years ago

        Yup. Too much money.

        • Klimax
        • 4 years ago

        Or going opposite way for as much cooling power as possible…

    • TopHatKiller
    • 4 years ago

    Interesting, but, a comparison to high-end air coolers might be better.
    As for noise, CM do not produce anything like the best fans available. Phantek, Noctua… and others will easily beat them in noise/performance. [i refer people to spcr’s testing]
    In addition, noctua are still developing their own ‘twisted heatpipe’ design, to come out… uhm, sometime before the end of the decade. In all systems to date hybrid vapour chamber / heatpipe designs have been disappointing.
    Regardless of price/performance issues, this really needs to be compared with the best air coolers on the market.
    Still, thanks anyway, that was interesting.

      • brucethemoose
      • 4 years ago

      CM’s Jetflo fans are actually quite good. Phanteks/Noctua are too, but they aren’t leagues above other premium fans like the Aerocool DS, NBs, Be Quiet!, low-speed Deltas/Sanyos and many others.

      The REAL best fans are the ones that can silently push a ton of air: the Nidec Gentle Typhoon and Noiseblocker eLoop. Sure, Noctuas are quiet at low speeds, but they sound like tornados above ~1700 RPM compared to those.

        • TopHatKiller
        • 4 years ago

        mhmm. I heard a jetflow & it was just terrible – still, i’m afraid that may be down to manufacturing variability. Noiseblockers are very good though…. i was under the impression scythe’s gentle typhoon were being terminated and as such are very hard to find, a shame.
        [didn’t realize they’re called ‘nidec’ in the us.]

          • brucethemoose
          • 4 years ago

          Nah, Scythe just doesn’t buy them from Nidec anymore.

            • LoneWolf15
            • 4 years ago

            Which is why I’ve hoarded a few Gentle Typhoons and FDB models.

            • TopHatKiller
            • 4 years ago

            Sensible Wolf!

        • nicktg
        • 4 years ago

        I have yet to find a fan as smooth sounding as the Skythe S-flex. The Nexus real silent came close though and at a fraction of the price. I feel like the fans mentioned above are overengineered and gimmicky without managing to surpass the old classics in terms of sound quality.

    • just brew it!
    • 4 years ago

    Egads, this thing costs about as much as I paid for my FX-8320! I don’t think I’m in the target market…

    • chµck
    • 4 years ago

    So nowadays, what’s the biggest limiting factor in heatsink design? CPU-Heatsink contact/heat transfer, heatpipe-fin heat transfer, or heat dissipation from the fins?

      • brucethemoose
      • 4 years ago

      On Intel’s smaller chips, TIM is a huge factor. People see drops of 10C-20C or more when they replace the goop between the chip and heatspreader + IHS/base contact area with liquid metal TIM.

      In other words, theres a huge temperature gap just getting the heat TO the heatpipes, and it’s getting worse as thermal density keeps going up.

        • ikjadoon
        • 4 years ago

        Exactly! All these nuts argue about “static pressure for your filtered case fans” and “This tower cooler is 3C better than that tower cooler”, but delidding + TIM will net you performance you would’ve paid $100 for (that is, 15 to 20C).

        No stupid fan will make that difference, ever.

          • slowriot
          • 4 years ago

          Uh…. In my experience you’re talking about the same people. If you’re willing to delid a CPU you’re probably also optimizing your fans, heatsinks, and spending quite a bit on both. As well, part of delidding is to get the most out of those other bits. You’re improving the transfer of heat to your heatsinks/radiators/etc.

        • psuedonymous
        • 4 years ago

        It’s not the TIM, it’s the mounting tolerance: [url<]http://images.anandtech.com/doci/9505/1b%20CPUIHS.png[/url<]

        • chuckula
        • 4 years ago

        I delidded my Haswell and I can confirm that a delid + liquid metal TIM can have a very positive effect in keeping an OC’d part running at reasonable temperatures.

        • Mr Bill
        • 4 years ago

        Because the actual chip is smaller than the package, most heat pipe coolers only get one pipe across the hottest region. This vapor chamber should help further to spread the heat across the package and to the other pipes.

    • brucethemoose
    • 4 years ago

    If I were looking at $100+ coolers, I’d be interested in this…. Heatpipes don’t wear out or leak water.

      • Freon
      • 4 years ago

      What if I told you there are all-in-one watercoolers out there with 6+ year warranties?

        • slowriot
        • 4 years ago

        I don’t think the concern about an AIO leaking is replacement of the AIO. It’s the ruined components, which are not going to be covered by that warranty.

          • brucethemoose
          • 4 years ago

          That, and I wouldn’t be happy with my CPU hitting 90C if the pump fails.

          Removing the AIO, dealing with support, shipping it back, and installing a new one also isn’t terribly convenient.

        • brucethemoose
        • 4 years ago

        I’ve heard Corsair will cover anything their AIOs leak on, but I’m not sure if that’s still the case. There’s nothing about that on their warranty page.

          • ikjadoon
          • 4 years ago

          That’s an incredibly important piece of information to not have…

    • LauRoman
    • 4 years ago

    Needs more plastic.

    • orik
    • 4 years ago

    I wonder how the noise / performance was affected because you had to mount the fan to accommodate the ram heatsinks.

    • puppetworx
    • 4 years ago

    Watercooling price for aircooling; I’m sure there is a market for this, its just not very big.

    I’m disappointed there was no graphs of overclocking performance or comparison with one of the leading aircoolers sans vapour chamber, seems like the review is only half done.

    • tsk
    • 4 years ago

    Meh

    • chuckula
    • 4 years ago

    I don’t see any evidence of a bent Skylake. I was promised a bent Skylake!

    • anotherengineer
    • 4 years ago

    hmmm 5 yr warranty. I remember buying my Noctua NH-U12P on sale for $70 with a 6-yr warranty way back and still working great. And then my Noctua NH-C12P SE14 on sale for $50 with a 6-yr warranty, IIRC!!! Was a great deal.

    I wonder how they compare to that Coolermaster??

    Edit – Jeff did you try different positions to see if the results varied?

    Such as
    [url<]http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/which-is-the-best-position-for-a-tower-cpu-cooler/[/url<] ??

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 4 years ago

      We test coolers on a test bench, so varying the position of the cooler on the motherboard wouldn’t have made any difference.

        • anotherengineer
        • 4 years ago

        So open test bench, motherboard parallel with floor, thanks for the info Jeff.

        • chuckula
        • 4 years ago

        Good review.

        Quick question: For your recent compact system build, you built a custom cooler loop install (looked SWEET). Any plans on doing a review that really focuses on that custom loop or other similar products? I’ve seen plenty of youtube videos with those things, but a real review would be awesome too.

    • cmrcmk
    • 4 years ago

    Holy overly-long-product-name Batman!

      • ronch
      • 4 years ago

      How about AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition?

        • baobrain
        • 4 years ago

        Or for that matter, AMD Athlon 64 x2 5800 plus(or any amd athlon 64 x2 cpu)?

      • Klyith
      • 4 years ago

      MasterAir Sergeant Maker Person of the CPU Master Sergeants of Coolers Extreme!

    • Chrispy_
    • 4 years ago

    That looks really nice to me, and CM seem to be capable of quality products these days.

    It is, however a bit of a conceptual failure. Once you get to a certain thermal load that you need such a huge heatsink and large number of heatpipes, water makes far more sense. Radiators are just more effective than heatsinks because their surface area is exposed to more fresh air. Even in a giant heatsink, the air passing over the back of the heatsink is already hot because it’s been heated by the air from the front of the heatsink. A radiator doesn’t really have a front or a back, it’s so think in comparison that all of the radiator area is considered front – and therefore far more efficient.

    Ignoring the efficiency benefits of a radiator, there’s also the concern of what to secure 1.2KG of metal to. Do you want it to be affixed firmly to your robust metal case, or hanging off a processor via four bolts on an expensive fibreglass, brittle motherboard?

    Everyone has their own ideas about what they’re comfortable hanging off a CPU socket but my own personal limit is well under 2lbs. Something like the 212EVO or NH-U12 is plenty heavy enough to have me worried about shipping damage and those are half the weight of this cooler 🙁

      • Crackhead Johny
      • 4 years ago

      Shipping damage? In the BP6 days we had a rule “Remove your Alphas before you ship” I would assume everyone is still removing their heavy cooling solution before shipping their machine anywhere.
      Sure for a LAN party you can set your case in a way where pot holes will have less chance to ripping your cooler loose but with a nice case, how long does it take to reconnect a cooler?

        • Freon
        • 4 years ago

        You seem to be ignoring concerns about heatsink grease. It needs to be cleaned up and reapplied. It’s sort of messy.

        • LoneWolf15
        • 4 years ago

        Man, now I’m missing my Alpha. Those were awesome.

      • Mr Bill
      • 4 years ago

      But one advantage of having a vapor chamber in contact with the CPU chip is to spread the heat out so the pipes above it can carry more of it away. The pipes only solutions might only have one or two pipes touching the hottest part of the CPU package. This seems to avoid that problem. It keeps up with a water cooled solution and The Cooler Master V8 GTS is essentially the same design for $89.

        • Waco
        • 4 years ago

        The V8 GTS is a massive pain in the ass to install even in a good sized case (hell, even on my test bench). I absolutely hated it to the point where I almost felt bad giving it away in a build…

          • Mr Bill
          • 4 years ago

          Yeah, it looks like it would be. Is this newer model supposed to be easier to install and is that why its so much more expensive?

            • Waco
            • 4 years ago

            This cooler is quite differently designed (with the vapor chamber, single tower, flattened heatpipes, etc). The mounting system on the V8 GTS essentially assumed you had infinite clearance *around* the CPU socket for their stupid little wrench things to fit.

      • ikjadoon
      • 4 years ago

      I hear all the “conceptual” benefits of liquid cooling in essentially every cooling thread: it has more surface area, it has no front/back, it has better fans, water is the better conductor, etc.

      ALL the advantages of liquid cooling (in this price bracket) netted 3C worth of difference at exactly the same noise level.

      At this price point, it seems like water and high-end air are the same.

      Wake me up when water’s wonderful advantages are doing something interesting in the $100 range.

      Let’s be more honest about this: CLCs are about shipping worries, aesthetics, and “cool” factor.

      Save your “efficiency” talk for open loops costing $200+.

        • chlamchowder
        • 4 years ago

        The cooling difference is minimal, but here are other factors to consider:
        -Liquid cooling works better with a non-blower graphics card, because you can mount the radiator in a place where it won’t be taking hot air from the graphics card
        -Liquid cooling (IMO) is easier to install than a large tower heatsink
        -Clearance issues around the CPU socket are less common with liquid cooling

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